Between Heaven and Hell, by Gordon Wagner, 1960-1965

Gordon Wagner, Artist
Between Heaven and Hell , 1960–65

Wood, metal, stones, bones, dolls, fabric, and oil paint
73 x 23 x 10 in. (185.4 x 58.4 x 25.4 cm)
Credit Line
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Virginia Wagner. Digital image © 2009 Museum Associates/LACMA/Art Resource, NY

Between Heaven and Hell is an assemblage consisting of shells, lace, wood, matchsticks, and other found objects, constructed to resemble a ship’s mast. Wagner’s inspiration for working with assemblage comes from childhood, as the artist began beachcombing in the communities of Venice and Redondo Beach at the age of twelve. In 1966 he participated in 66 Signs of Neon, an exhibition organized by Noah Purifoy and Judson Powell in response to the Watts uprising, held at the Watts Towers Arts Center. Wagner was a mentor to George Herms and Betye Saar.